With everything in place, Jim should by now have reached his goal of breaking into the 9s, right? Almost. Now in the low 10s, Jim is, in his words, "so close it's almost sickening!" At the end of the '05 racing season, he installed a new adjustable McLeod Soft Lok clutch assembly and some 1.8 rockers that will bump his lift to 0.774. "I'm sure this is going to be the ticket to a deep-9-second e.t.," Jim tells us. "The mph indicates I have the power to be in the 9.6-to-9.8 range . . . I just have to hook it up smoother. A clutch that slips a little and is adjustable is the key to making it all work."
Looking over Jim's car, one immediately notes the lack of NHRA-mandated safety equipment. Asked about the apparent oversight, Jim just smiles and says, "I am limited to which tracks let me run because I lack a full rollcage. I really hate to cut up the car to install one because it really is a street cruiser most of the time." And that's exactly what it is: just a little pump-gas cruiser-an "almost 9-second" one at that.
Special thanks to wife Karen and daughter Leyla for their support over the years; to Pat Topolinski, Casey Snider, and Judson Massengill at the School of Automotive Machinists (Houston); and, most importantly, to Jim's father who was always willing to push the car's limits at 140 mph.